Space Tug WIP's & Black-body Materials Test
My package of NASA space tug technical studies, courtesy  David S.F. Portree, arrived this past Monday, and as Winchell Chung predicted, I’m swimming in high quality data. See the document list bottom of page. This consists of approximately 350 pages covering the evolution of the space tug concept and detailing various sub systems and configurations.

Pre-Phase A studies were contracted out to Boeing, and to North American Rockwell.


Left-hand column of WIP images, Top to Bottom.

The North American Rockwell versions of the Tug use an Apollo style probe-and-drogue docking system to mate tug modules.


WIP Top Left shows the crew module with a cargo module above it and the top portion of the propulsion module below.

WIP Center Left: Profile view and detail of the docking system.

WIP Bottom Left: Top view of the docking system.


I decided to hold off on modeling the master-slave manipulator arms till I had the technical reports from David. Sadly this is one of the systems that is noted as requiring further study. I intend to work from the concept art to complete this part of the system.


WIP Center Top and Middle: This is a lunar lander variant of the tug, which only appears once, in the ELDO/NASA briefing document, and is shown only from a face-on perspective, but I rather like it. This configuration, crew module bottom, and two cargo modules stacked on top, is intended to support fifteen astronauts for fifty day lunar excursions. The propulsive elements, landing engines and tankage, have been moved to a side mounted configuration, nicely lowering the COG. Very elegant. I’m modeling the landing kit on one side, this will then be duplicated to the other side of the crew module. The basic structure to support landing/take-off rockets and landing gear is complete, tank bracing remains to be completed before I mount the engines and landing gear.


WIP Center Bottom: This is a texture mapped incandescence node using the black-body node for Cycles in Blender. In experiment phase, I’m tweaking the shader to match material settings of my open cycle gas core rocket radiator panels. This is the radiator material at 1390 k, the full power coolant output temperature from the gas core reactor.


WIP Right-Hand Column: This is the Boeing version of the Space Tug. Scaled to fit in the payload bay of the Space Shuttle. This will sport top mounted manipulator arms arrayed around the docking adapter. The Boeing version of the tug used a single uprated RL-10 engine, I’m in process modeling the engine presently.


I've selected three alternate propulsion modules to model, the four engine North American Rockwell module, a primary (high energy) Boeing propulsion module, and the secondary Boeing LEO propulsion module. I'm modeling cutaway versions of the propulsion modules as well as fully closed versions.


For my Patrons this month:


I will be offering a selection of art from my gallery, full size high resolution copies, if there is any particular artwork you would like leave your requests in the comments below.


Research, documents courtesy of David S.F. Portree


Boeing Pre-phase A Technical Study For Use of Sat V, INT 21 & Other Sat V Derivatives To Determine An Optimum Fourth Stage, 106 pages. February 26, 1971.


Presentation, Space transportation System Briefing document, 38 pages. Advanced Manned Missions Program, Office of Manned Spaceflight. Prepared for ELDO (the European Launcher Development Organization) and NASA. July 7-8 1970, Bonn, Germany.


MSC Internal Note No. 70-FM-125, August 24, 1970 A Preliminary Logistics Plan to Supply Oxygen To The Interplanetary Module In A High Earth Orbit From The Lunar Surface Generation Source, 27 pages. Mission Planning And Analysis Division, Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston Texas.


NASA Technical Note D-6241 Use of The Space Tug To Increase Payload Capabilities of The Space Shuttle, 17 pages. Langley Research Center, Hampton VA, February 1971.


North American Rockwell Pre-Phase A Study for an Analysis of a Reusable Space tug, Volume 1, Management Summary, 23 pages. March 22, 1971.


North American Rockwell Pre-Phase A Study for an Analysis of a Reusable Space tug, Volume 2, Technical Summary, 103 pages. March 22, 1971.


Bellcom Review of the five Pre-Phase A studies, (approx) 100 pages. June 30, 1971.


A special note of thanks to David S.F. Portree. These visualizations would be far less detailed and complete without his time and efforts.